Lawyers often don’t think of cybersecurity as an essential tool for their profession. After all, most law firms don’t deal with cybercrime on a daily basis. However, expanding digital access to legal services opens up new opportunities that can also open the door for malicious hackers—and stealing data is only one of the criminal activities they might pursue.
Hackers are skilled at identifying and taking advantage of security flaws in networks, so it is important to upgrade your firm’s technology to protect client confidentiality and sensitive information. Here are several signs that you need to invest in information security:
1. Your firm employs outside counsel
Just like tech giants such as Google and Apple, many law firms turn to third-party vendors for tech needs. Third-party vendors often have access to sensitive client information if they are working on a case or helping with legal research. Since outside counsel can be hacked just like any other business, it is important to maintain strict security standards for all computers and mobile devices that handle confidential information.
2. Your firm’s website offers public-facing services
There are now many ways for clients, customers and the general public to contact your law firm online. You may offer services such as online billing or an FAQ page where people can find answers. Make sure you work with a professional cyber security agency to assess the risks of making your firm’s digital information available through various websites and apps—and consider investing in upgrades before hackers exploit vulnerabilities in your systems.
3. You have an untrained IT staff
In small firms, law office assistants may be the only people with any information security training. If your entire staff is not trained in effective cyber security, then you should invest in a plan that updates their skills regularly and provides them with the tools needed for successful results. Because legal research databases often contain sensitive client data, it is important to ensure your staff can use technology without being vulnerable to hackers targeting this information.
4. Hacking seems a likely tactic for a cybercrime case against your firm or its clients
There are many ways for malicious actors to obtain confidential client information at a law firm without hacking—but hacking has become one of the go-to strategies employed by cybercriminals. As the threat of hacks rises, law firms should be prepared to handle attacks quickly and effectively—especially when dealing with high-profile clients whose data might be valuable to cybercriminals.
5. You offer international client services or work with foreign entities in any capacity
While U.S. law offices tend to focus on domestic cases, many firms are now accepting clients in other countries. If this is your situation, then you need an information security plan that accounts for laws and data privacy policies in multiple countries—and determine the best course of action if a firm’s network is compromised.
6. Your firm offers its employees remote access to work files
One way small firms get more done is by using virtual private (or cloud) office space. However, if this service is not managed through a professional information security agency, it can put sensitive company data at risk. In addition to the danger of hacking from outside your firm’s network, employees may also be vulnerable to phishing scams and other online attacks that can compromise their computers and mobile devices.
7. Your firm provides IT support for its clients
If you offer tech support for a business or individual client, then that client might expect you to have a strong grasp of information security best practices. If they trust you with their computer—and ultimately, confidential data—then there should be no question about your ability to manage high-quality security measures on their behalf. For law firms offering tech support services or building digital solutions for clients, ensuring secure cyber environments is of paramount importance.
8. You are a personal injury or criminal defense firm involved in sensitive legal cases
The information you collect on behalf of your clients can be very valuable—as distasteful as it might seem to potential hackers. This data could include names, addresses, dates of birth, health records and more. If any of this information were published online or sent to the wrong party through an insecure email service, then you could face serious consequences with your client—and even end up with an ethical dilemma if the breach violated confidentiality rules governed by state bar associations. With this in mind, building effective security protocols into your law office’s workflows before facing an actual threat is key to minimizing the damage of a cyberattack.
9. You have large amounts of sensitive data to protect or send securely
If you are sending or storing confidential information, then that data should be encrypted—even if it is only passing through your email inbox. Essentially, strong encryption helps ensure that information cannot be seen by unintended recipients, and this is critical for safeguarding both business data and clients’ personal information (like social security numbers). Advanced encryption solutions provide law firms with multiple options for protecting their sensitive files. They can choose hardware-based solutions , software-based solutions , multi-factor authentication methods or any combination to meet their unique needs. When considering all these benefits, see why encryption is important for small businesses .
10. You want an additional layer of protection for internal documents and files
Although you may always insist that your employees practice the best security protocols, sometimes these measures are not enough. Encryption can help prevent unauthorized access from inside your firm’s network. In addition, encryption is used to secure hard drive backups in case a computer was lost or stolen—giving law firms added peace of mind in case a device goes missing. By placing a digital lock on stored company data, even if it was physically stolen off-site , no one outside the office would be able to view sensitive information without the key to unlock the file.
Are You Looking For A Computer Security Service You Can Finally Trust?
Managed Technology Solutions, also known as ManagedTEK – IT Security Services & Monitoring, is a managed service provider that provides IT support and security solutions for businesses throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area. ManagedTEK, was founded on an urgency to empower and protect our community from the digital war on personal security and privacy. We focus and specialize in protecting businesses from falling victim to increasingly complex cyber threats. We use cutting-edge technology along with proven cybersecurity practices to provide support and protection for small businesses. Contact us today for your free consultation!